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Some Challenges in the Empirics of the Effects of Networks

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  • Boucher, Vincent

    () (Université Laval)

  • Fortin, Bernard

    () (Université Laval)

Abstract

We study some recent developments and challenges in the empirics of the effects of social networks. We focus in particular on researchers' ability to make policy recommendations based on a standard linear econometric model. We examine the potential compatibility between this type of econometric model and a microeconomic theoretical approach based on fundamentals, such as preferences, technology and decision processes. We discuss sources of identification for the social multiplier as well as for the identity of the key player. We study the possibility of testing endogeneity in network formation. We analyse the use of proxy variables and their impact for the causal interpretation of the peer effect coefficients. Our analysis suggests that greater care should be taken in grounding econometric network models to sound and credible theoretical underpinnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Boucher, Vincent & Fortin, Bernard, 2015. "Some Challenges in the Empirics of the Effects of Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 8896, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8896
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Vincent Boucher, 2015. "Structural Homophily," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 56, pages 235-264, February.
    2. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    3. Julie Beugnot & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social Networks and Peer Effects at Work," Cahiers de recherche 1320, CIRPEE.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2003. "The Social Multiplier," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 345-353, 04/05.
    5. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10840 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Vincent Boucher & Yann Bramoullé & Habiba Djebbari & Bernard Fortin, 2014. "Do Peers Affect Student Achievement? Evidence From Canada Using Group Size Variation," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 91-109, January.
    7. Bryan S. Graham, 2008. "Identifying Social Interactions Through Conditional Variance Restrictions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 643-660, May.
    8. Charles F. Manski, 2013. "Identification of treatment response with social interactions," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 16(1), pages 1-23, February.
    9. Dean Karlan & Markus Mobius & Tanya Rosenblat & Adam Szeidl, 2009. "Trust and Social Collateral," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 1307-1361.
    10. Boucher, Vincent, 2016. "Conformism and self-selection in social networks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 30-44.
    11. Marcel Fafchamps & Flore Gubert, 2007. "Risk Sharing and Network Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 75-79, May.
    12. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N., 2007. "Identification of binary choice models with social interactions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 52-75, September.
    13. Fortin, Bernard & Yazbeck, Myra, 2015. "Peer effects, fast food consumption and adolescent weight gain," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 125-138.
    14. Bryan S. Graham, 2015. "Methods of Identification in Social Networks," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 465-485, August.
    15. Lawrence E. Blume & William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf & Rajshri Jayaraman, 2015. "Linear Social Interactions Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(2), pages 444-496.
    16. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1019-1055.
    17. Galbiati, Roberto & Zanella, Giulio, 2012. "The tax evasion social multiplier: Evidence from Italy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 485-494.
    18. Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Peers at Work," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 112-145.
    19. Liu, Xiaodong & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2013. "Peer Effects: Social Multiplier or Social Norms?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9366, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Nicholas Christakis & James Fowler & Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2010. "An empirical model for strategic network formation," CeMMAP working papers CWP16/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    21. Angelo Mele, 2010. "A structural model of segregation in social networks," CeMMAP working papers CWP32/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    22. Marcel Fafchamps & Flore Gubert, 2007. "Risk Sharing and Network Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 75-79, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Boucher, Vincent, 2016. "Conformism and self-selection in social networks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 30-44.
    2. Timothy Conley & Nirav Mehta & Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner, 2015. "Social Interactions, Mechanisms, and Equilibrium: Evidence from a Model of Study Time and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 21418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Olcina, Gonzalo & Panebianco, Fabrizio & Zenou, Yves, 2017. "Conformism, Social Norms and the Dynamics of Assimilation," CEPR Discussion Papers 12166, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Jackson, Matthew O. & Rogers, Brian & Zenou, Yves, 2016. "Networks: An economic perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 11452, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Rokhaya Dieye & Bernard Fortin, 2017. "Gender Peer Effects Heterogeneity in Obesity," Cahiers de recherche 1702, Centre de recherche sur les risques, les enjeux économiques, et les politiques publiques.
    6. Vincent Boucher & Marion Goussé, 2015. "Wage Dynamics and Peer Referrals," Cahiers de recherche 1514, CIRPEE.
    7. Matthew O. Jackson & Brian W. Rogers & Yves Zenou, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Social-Network Structure," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 49-95, March.
    8. Patacchini, Eleonora & Rainone, Edoardo & Zenou, Yves, 2017. "Heterogeneous peer effects in education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 190-227.
    9. Hahn, Youjin & Islam, Asadul & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2015. "Network Structure and Education Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 8872, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Del Bello, Carlo & Panebianco, Fabrizio & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2016. "Cultural Transmission and Socialization Spillovers in Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 11419, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. repec:ris:jspord:0941 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Lindquist, Matthew & Sauermann, Jan & Zenou, Yves, 2015. "Network Effects on Worker Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 10928, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social networks; social multiplier; network formation; identification; proxy variables; policy analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C36 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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